Erdogan expresses concern for Russia-Ukraine tension

Minnie Murray
November 29, 2018

US President Donald Trump has declared is considering to cancel a scheduled meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the forthcoming G20 summit because of the Russian "aggression".

"It is undoubtedly a provocation", the Russian president said, adding that it had been organised by Ukraine's authorities "and, I think, the incumbent president in the run-up to the Ukrainian presidential election in March 2019".

Some of Ukraine's Western allies have also raised the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Russia over the episode, which could deliver a blow to the Russian economy.

Putin said the West was willing to forgive Ukrainian politicians because it bought into their anti-Russian narrative.

"The goal is simple - by placing a blockade on the Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, Russia hopes to drive Ukraine out of our own territory - the territory that is ours in accordance with all relevant global laws", the minister stressed.

Putin said that the incident was provoked by Ukrainian ships, who refused to communicate with the Russian border guards, AP reported.

"I am getting a report on that tonight and that will determine what happens at the meeting", Trump said. That is why Poroshenko claims that his country is threatened with a "total war" with Moscow.

The peninsula was seized from Ukraine in 2014 and annexed by Russian Federation shortly afterwards.

Moscow later backed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict in which more than 10,000 people have been killed.

The European Union on Wednesday strongly condemned Russia's actions but, after three days of debate, failed to agree to threaten new sanctions.

Russian servicemen drive S-400 missile air defence systems during the Victory Day parade, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia May 9, 2018.

Russian news agencies cited Vadim Astafyev, a spokesman for Russia's southern military district, as saying that a new battalion of S-400 missiles would be delivered to Crimea soon and become operational by the end of the year. This message reads: "Please leave Ukraine, Mr. Putin".

Interfax news agency quoted Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, as saying on November 26 that 24 Ukrainian sailors were being detained.

The two Ukrainian artillery boats and a tugboat were heading from Odesa on the Black Sea to Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. The same court ordered the other 15 sailors on Tuesday to be detained for two months pending a possible trial.

Russia said the Ukrainian ships illegally crossed into Russian waters and called the crisis a "planned provocation".

Western governments have rallied behind Kiev in the dispute, accusing Russian Federation of illegally blocking access to the Sea of Azov and of taking military action without justification.

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